While we're used to Google garnering residual PR for retooling old media for new ways to advertise, we're pretty unused to seeing Google actually advertise outside of sanctioned Google space or some kind of cross-brand. It's a card the uberbrand rarely pulls.
Shortly after deciding to make Gmail public (really this time, except not) Google's decided to start marketing for it too. And who did they tap as the vehicle to do the job? Youtube.
Nodding to critiques about big names doing bad at guerilla, Google makes sure we can't accuse them of getting too slick. The video takes place in a cubicle farm, is narrated by a 20-something and demonstrates Gmail's unique features with hand puppets made of office tools.
Clever, Google. They have a cavalier way of hawking great services by demonstrating none too shyly how much fun they're having. And even as VC's shake their heads in disgust at the grinning Googlers sipping smoothies, you have to admit few companies are willing to let their minions put their deskside office art on air. Maybe one day we'll be getting credit for our low-key talent as origami bird makers.
Irv Blitz-directed spot Swing, by agency Momentum for Grolsch, involves the most synchronized dancing beer bottles we've ever seen. And that's saying a lot considering when our own beer bottles dance, they are never nearly this snappy.
We haven't tried Anheuser-Busch's Grolsch lager, but suddenly we're curious, in part because we think it will make us better dancers. And we know this for a fact because listening to jazz, or at least something jazz-like, makes you smarter. It's been proven by science.
Out since early February and in a nod to television's Starsky & Hutch and Knight Rider, Hammer & Coop is a six episode online miniseries that pits a dude named Jim Turtledove against a white-suited megalomaniac named Sven Hartjan. The star of the show, though, is the 2007 Mini Coop. This is not an ad. This is a show and it's hilarious. Though it's not technically an ad, the show does a great job of pointing out the car's feature without it seeming too gratuitous.
Two of the six episodes are out and have Turtledove getting sidetracked by a bikini car wash and Hartjan sharing his maniacal plans with us. There's a funny action hero name generator so you, too, can have your own Jim Turtledove-like name. There's also the usual wallpapers, screensavers and buddy icons. Very nice work.
Adrants reader Jeff Wasiluk writes to tell us, "For most of us, day to day creativity only pays off in our minds. Sure there is the occasional award, standard company raise, maybe you even got a pat on the back. Good for you. But me, I'd rather have those little sparks of brilliance put my ass on the beach and a mai tai in my hand." Point taken. Which brings us to Rather be in Hawaii, a site from Starwood Hotels and Hawaiian Airlines, on which you can upload an image of an unpleasant moment of your life and have it paired with another image of vacation perfection. If you win the contest, you get a 5 night stay in Hawaii at a Starwood Hotel with airfare courtesy of Hawaiian Airlines. Go ahead. Upload your misery and go to Hawaii.
The Girl Scouts of America, that pristine organization of innocence and good values, at the end of January, stepped foot into the seedy world of MySpace with a site promoting this year's cookie drive. On the site you'll find pictures of the cookies and some of the cleanest, most fully-dressed pictures of people you'll ever find on MySpace. The MySpace presence, aside from our tasteless snark, makes perfect sense. Why not hang with the most concentrated collection of tweens and teens anywhere online to build awareness and to, perhaps, as a side benefit, encourage those tweens and teens to...put more clothes on while getting them to buy cookies and join the Girl Scouts...who don't let you wear low-cut, cleavage revealing belly shirts and low rider jeans to their den meetings. Wow. A Campaign With Benefits. Sell cookies and get American youth to fully dress themselves in the morning. Is this a new trend? If this campaign succeeds, will there be no more places online for teenage boys to drool over what they can't get in real life anyway?
Oh damn, our phone's ringing. It must be the Girls Scouts of America telling us to shut up and stop associating all this filth with their fine, upstanding organization. OK, fine. Besides, we have to take our daughter to a den meeting now.
With its classic Jerry Bruckheimer movie-sounding theme music (which draws us in every time for reasons we know not), Sony has released two new PlayStation sites created by Zugara. The two sites offer visitors mini Navy Seal Missions introduced by former real life Navy Seal Rob Roy. After viewing a brief explanation Roy about how a four-man team needs to work with a two-man team, visitors are asked to complete a reconnaissance mission on the FireTeam Bravo 2 site. Once the recon work is completed, a four-man assault mission on the Combined Assault site becomes unlocked, and players are automatically deep-linked back to that site's Crosstalk section so that you can lead the assault team.
Because we work on the internet, we like to entertain the fantasy that we're down with hackers or could have been hackers if we wanted to. This surmise is probably untrue as we haven't yet mastered the art of face-to-face l337-sp33k.
The spiffy rogues at Hanft Raboy and Partners put forth Discover Hackistan, a hacker community that scoffs at tired bourgeois trimmings like intellectual property and valorizes everyday net annoyances as seeds of revolution. Hackistan's one enemy is Fortify Software, the status quo superheroes characterized by fringey promos of this type from Hanft. We dig it.
Kitschy hacker country aside, Fortify shows it doesn't mind laughing at itself as sworn saviours of web uniformity. An "open letter" running in magazines includes an invitation for Hackistan citizens to "Join the world community and enjoy the benefits of globalization: soaring divorce rates, mindless entertainment and obesity." And if that's not compelling enough, consider the consequences of contributing to the free-for-all programming universe. Ooh, it gives us the shudders.
Sinless points us to The Metallers, a pair of awkward fame-seekers who remind us why heavy metal was so good for the furniture industry. And maybe also the Ritalin industry.
We covered The Fame Game when it first came out and were intrigued back then at what kind of entries appeared. After the long "we-want-your-stuff!" marketing craze, and the small CGM gems that appeared in the Super Bowl, one forgets that for the most part pure consumer-gen will consist mainly of bedroom dancing and awkward pillow-tossing.
We liked Finding Nemo. Cute animation and grisly clownfish family massacre aside, every character had a flaw to overcome and a dark side to deal with. That's what turns frothy animated fun into something meaningful, slightly scary and mildly subversive.
To tell what we're sure is a painful and amusing story about their ups and downs, Little Big Brands brings together major talent like animator Alexandru Sacui and musical guru Woody Pak. The result is three full minutes of sweet little cliches - big fish in little pond, fish out of water, other fish in the sea. Where's the challenge, the struggle and the shame? Three minutes is a long time - a very long time - to watch fish without so much as a glimmer of sharkfin over the horizon.
For album "Year Zero," Nine Inch Nails sets fans on a scavenger hunt with a series of webpages predicting the future. One example is Another Version of the Truth, a picture of a seemingly gentler America. When you click and drag your mouse, the pastoral picture reveals a desolate wasteland.
The first of the sites was discovered by fans who put together a set of highlighted words on a tour shirt. After that a spiral of other sites were found with roughly the same end-of-the-world, fascist/religious theme.
The effort was orchestrated by 42 Entertainment, the mad geniuses responsible for the Halo 2 campaign that sparked a dramatic nationwide search for a princess trapped in cyberspace.